Cover image for Squirrel Inc. : a fable of leadership through storytelling
Squirrel Inc. : a fable of leadership through storytelling
Denning, Stephen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxi, 182 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD30.3 .D462 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Take a satirical scamper through organizational life in the midst of changing times, brought to you by master storyteller and former World Bank executive Steve Denning. With wisdom and a healthy dose of wit, Denning introduces a cast of furry characters who together learn the fine art of change through storytelling in their quest to overcome obstacles, generate enthusiasm and teamwork, share knowledge, and ultimately lead their company into a new era of success and significance. Through the stories of Squirrel Inc ., readers will learn that the ability to tell the right story at the right time can determine the outcome of any major change effort. In each chapter Denning's squirrels learn to use storytelling to address leadership challenges: How to bring about change How to communicate who you are How to transmit values How to foster collaboration How to stop rumors How to share knowledge How to lead your organization into the future

Author Notes

Stephen Denning is a private consultant specializing in knowledge management and organizational storytelling

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The fable has been a durable vehicle for imparting wisdom since ancient times, and in this tale about a former high-flying enterprise that?s fallen on hard times?and just happens to be managed by squirrels?the form is deftly deployed by author Denning (The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations). The former World Bank executive turned consultant, whose client list includes General Electric, McDonald?s and the U.S. Army, uses his extended parable not only to make this volume more lively than most business books, but also to emphasize his main point: that storytelling is a crucial tool for surmounting the challenges facing leaders today. ?The ability to tell the right story at the right time is emerging as an essential leadership skill for coping with, and getting business results in, the turbulent world of the 21st century,? he writes. Like many real companies, Denning?s Squirrel Inc. must deal with a technological change in order to survive. In this case, the company must transform itself from a nut-burying firm to a nut-storing firm. The main squirrel in the apologue is Diana, a company exec who learns the basics of creating stories from a bartender at the local nectar tavern. Although written in a narrative form, Denning?s book provides plenty of ?pull-out? nuggets for quick reference as well as concise summaries at the end of each chapter. This book may not turn skeptics into believers, but it should ignite the intellectual curiosity of all who would like to learn more about the power of telling stories in the boardroom. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. XIII
Part 1
1 Squirrel Inc.: How to Craft a Story to Spark Organizational Changep. 3
2 Diana Tells Her Story: How to Perform the Story to Spark Changep. 25
Part 2
3 Save Squirrel Inc. Night: Seven Types of Organizational Storytellingp. 41
4 Whyse's Story: How to Use Storytelling to Reveal Who You Are and Build Trustp. 49
5 Hester's Story: How to Use Storytelling to Get Individuals to Work Togetherp. 59
6 Mark's Story: How to Use Storytelling to Transmit Valuesp. 69
7 Mocha's Story: How to Use Storytelling to Tame the Grapevinep. 79
8 Howe's Story: How to Use Storytelling to Share Knowledgep. 89
9 Sandra's Story: How to Use Storytelling to Create a Futurep. 101
10 Howe Upsets the Acorns: How Individuals and Organizations React to Changep. 115
Part 3
11 The Journey of a Leader: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leadershipp. 127
12 The Return to Squirrel Inc.: Living the Story as Well as Telling Itp. 143
Seven High-Value Forms of Organizational Storytellingp. 150
Notesp. 155
Further Readingp. 169
Write to the Authorp. 177
Acknowledgmentsp. 179
About the Authorp. 181